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Pre-amp for UFO25 (Read 421 times)
Glenn
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Pre-amp for UFO25
09/14/22 at 14:00:13
 
I recently received delivery of my UFO25 and am very pleased with the sound. I had my first transcendent moment listening to Etta James Live from San Francisco the other night. Amazing. However, i have now read an article by Steve stating that a Decware pre-amp will up the game by as much as 30% - which has my wondering. . . does this apply to the UFO25 as well? I would appreciate thoughts on two questions. First, will a Decware pre-amp make an audible improvement in the sound of the UFO25, and if so, which one do you recommend. And second,  given the length of the waiting list, is there an alternative pre-amp that you recommend, while i wait in the queue for a Decware?  FYI - i stream my music using a Sonos Port, Pontus II DAC and Klipsch Cornwall IV speakers. Thanks all!
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Niagara 1200, Decware UFO25, Sonos Port, Denafrips Pontus II, Klipsch Cornwall IV
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Lon
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Re: Pre-amp for UFO25
Reply #1 - 09/14/22 at 20:03:56
 
I don't have a UFO25 but I have a pair of SE84UFO3 Monoblocks with the Anniversary Mods (and voltage regulation for both input and output tubes, something I am not sure is a part of the regular Monoblocks) so I think a similar sound and presentation.

They sound really good without a preamp. But with a preamp there is more "presence" and "body" to the sound and a touch more dynamics. The preamp I am using is the ZTPRE. I also have a ZBIT and a ZROCK2 before the amplifiers which give excellent improvements both with and without a preamp.

Some of us are never satisfied. I'm among those. So I have a preamp--at one point in order to add headphone potential to the system I even had a second preamp in the signal chain, and it didn't hurt, it even helped a bit. If the "what if" keeps bugging you and your pockets will be deep enough think about the matching CSP3-25 and get on the waiting list. It most assuredly will give you a thrilling bit of extra Decware magic.

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HR-1,ZTPRE,ZBIT,ZROCK2,SE84UFO3-25th x2, CSP3-25th.Taboo Mk IV;Rega RP3 all GrooveTracer mods;PSAudio:PST+DSD,P15,NPC,PowerBases,AC-12 pwr cbls,Reference spkrcbls; Mapleshade SamsonV3;VooDoo:Cremona+Amati interconnects, IsoPods; headphones:Sennheiser HD800S,ZMF Or
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CAJames
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Re: Pre-amp for UFO25
Reply #2 - 09/14/22 at 20:53:51
 
So for me, I can't imagine having a system without a tube preamp. I have the UFO amps (configured as balanced mono blocs) with the "anniversary mods" not the UFO25 and they certainly benefit from the preamp. I'm using a Woo Audio WA22 as both a preamp and headphone amp and it makes beautiful music with Decware.
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[FOOBAR2000 | Jay's CDT2 MRK3] -> Denafrips Terminator 2 + Gaia
Sumiko Pearwood -> Mapleknoll Athena -> Luxman SUT -> Maple-tree Phono 3E
Woo WA22 -> 2x SE84UFOs (anniversary mods, balanced-differential)
Omega SAM , Hifiman Arya, Senn HD-650
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GroovySauce
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Re: Pre-amp for UFO25
Reply #3 - 09/15/22 at 16:13:16
 
Adding a quality pre-amp adds more better across the spectrum. Yes, The UFO25TH benefits from a pre-amp.

The only suggestions I have for a competing pre-amp are more expensive.

EMIA Remote Autoformer is my favorite pre-amp I've ever used. I've been smitten by Dave Slagle's autoformers since the first time I hooked one up. DECWARE amps have high input impedance which you want when using an autoformer as a pre-amp.
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Rega P8 | Zephyr MIMC★ | Innuos ZENith MK3 | May KTE DAC | ZP3 25th ZMC1 | ZRock2 25th | EMIA Remote Autoformer | Torii MKIV 25th | Snake River Audio Cables | PAP Quintet 15 1.6 Voxativ Custom XO & SRA cables| Torus AVR15 | Acoustic Treatment by Acoustic Fields
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Lon
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Re: Pre-amp for UFO25
Reply #4 - 09/15/22 at 18:42:24
 
Those autoformer preamps look wonderful and I bet they sound wonderful too.

But it would be awful expensive to roll autoformers! Wink
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HR-1,ZTPRE,ZBIT,ZROCK2,SE84UFO3-25th x2, CSP3-25th.Taboo Mk IV;Rega RP3 all GrooveTracer mods;PSAudio:PST+DSD,P15,NPC,PowerBases,AC-12 pwr cbls,Reference spkrcbls; Mapleshade SamsonV3;VooDoo:Cremona+Amati interconnects, IsoPods; headphones:Sennheiser HD800S,ZMF Or
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Crazy Bill the Eel Killer
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Tubes Rule !!

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Re: Pre-amp for UFO25
Reply #5 - 09/19/22 at 19:02:18
 
Hello all,
Gotta second GroovySauce's recommendation. There is nothing quite like Dave's autoformer volume controls. Nothing, and i mean nothing I've ever used in the preamp position compared to the autoformer. I've used a Decware ZSLA-1 sig., and two different DIY versions with gain, one based upon a 6922 and the other a 12b4. Both of my diy efforts were built to the hilt and surpassed by the autoformer. I've had both the copper based version, and I am now using the 47 step silver Elma autoformer.
Expensive, yes. But you couldn't pry it from my hands.

If you're handy with a soldering iron, you can construct a 23 step autoformer much cheaper than buying a built unit.

Something to think about if you're in the quest for the best.

Cheers,        Crazy Bill   Grin
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Glenn
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Re: Pre-amp for UFO25
Reply #6 - 09/27/22 at 13:53:34
 
Thanks for your suggestions. Unfortunately the EMIA Remote Autoformer is out of my budget range. I am very impressed with my Denafrips Pontus II DAC and am considering the Hades Pre-amp. I would love a Decware pre-amp but the approx. 3 year waiting list is just too long. Anyone have experience with Denafrips Pre-amps?
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Niagara 1200, Decware UFO25, Sonos Port, Denafrips Pontus II, Klipsch Cornwall IV
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Doug
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Re: Pre-amp for UFO25
Reply #7 - 09/28/22 at 02:43:12
 
Groovy and Crazy Bill,

So this autoformer device hooks up exactly like a normal preamp….L and R in…….and L and R out?   Where do you have your autoformers placed in your systems?  How would one of these work in my bi-amped system? Thanks!

Doug
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Jay’s CD2T-Mk3
Denafrips Pontus II
ZROCK2 (on order)
CSP3 25th & Custom Mods
Cary 300SEI Mk6 Western Electric 300B
………Driving Full Rangers
LFD NCSE Driving Eight 15” Woofers
PAP Quintets with Voxativ 1.6
Wireworld, XLO, Clearview, Duelund
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GroovySauce
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Re: Pre-amp for UFO25
Reply #8 - 09/28/22 at 13:28:57
 
I get it the EMIA unit is spendy.

Icon makes a AVC the price point is significantly less than the EMIA—still not inexpensive. I've read that they use Dave Slagle's autoformers in them, I have not confirmed that.

https://www.passivepreamp.com/product/icon-4-pro-unbalanced/

Doug, yes it does hook up just like a standard preamp... There are some things to be aware of though, see below.

Currently my DAC and ZP3 go into the EMIA. The EMIA has two outputs (in parallel) One output goes to the amp the other to the ZBOX to the sub amps. In a bi amp setup you will connect each amp to the outputs.

I wrote to someone else in a PM about the EMIA Remote Autoformer, this is a copy and paste of part.




I’ve been smitten with the autoformer ever since I first heard it. For practical purposes the autoformer is silent. Technically it does add some noise, the same way an interconnect (RCA or XLR) will add noise. I hear you on being a remote guy, I am too!

The EMIA autoformers and DECWARE are a match made in heaven of the audio gods.

I did have a CSP3 w/25th mods. It is a terrific pre amp I highly recommend it. The EMIA doesn’t have the tube magic it has the transformer magic! Dave’s transformers are considered by many consumers and industry professionals to be the best in the business. The speed of the EMIA is incredible, it's the number one difference between the two. Makes the CSP3 sound like it’s on a Sunday stroll.

There is a distinction about speed I want to make. When the system is fast it is naturally harmonically rich. Separation is about phase. If a component is fast, it will output more accurate phase information—leading to better separation and sound stage.

The way the EMIA can render sound-music-instruments in space awe inspiring.

Granted the EMIA is just one component of a very complex system. If I had all the money in the world, there isn't another preamp I would consider.

I have the copper version, my brother has the silver. We have not compared them yet. We did recently move near each other so in the future we will be comparing them.

The only thing the CSP3 has over the EMIA is the ability to tube roll and change the sound. I’ve never wanted to change what the EMIA brings to the party.

The EMIA is a key component in the enveloping nature of my system.

As a side note, my brother had the PS Audio BHK preamp. When we put the CSP3 up against it we both instantly preferred the CSP3. When he heard the EMIA he ordered one the next day.

If you do go the autoformer route. One thing you must be aware of is you need to have a good match of impedance between the source and the amp. 1,000 ohms from the ZP3 to the 47,000 ohms of a ZROCK works great. 100,000 ohms of a DECWARE amp is fantastic. No real difference in response. If you had 1,000 ohms output into 10,000 ohms input you will get frequency roll off.

My DAC is ~50 ohms output so I’m guessing I could drive a 20,000 ohm input amp no problem. 10,000 ohm might be iffy.

The practical issue for me with this right now is, I’m adding 2 GR-Research Servo Subs. The amps are 10,000 ohms input. That means when I have 100,000 from the amp and 10,000 meaning the source “sees” 9,100 ohms which will make the frequencies roll off a bit in the bass. I solved this by adding a ZBOX (47k ohm) between the EMIA and the Servo amps. I can also try running high level into the Servo amps as well. Then the impedance matching will be moot.
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Rega P8 | Zephyr MIMC★ | Innuos ZENith MK3 | May KTE DAC | ZP3 25th ZMC1 | ZRock2 25th | EMIA Remote Autoformer | Torii MKIV 25th | Snake River Audio Cables | PAP Quintet 15 1.6 Voxativ Custom XO & SRA cables| Torus AVR15 | Acoustic Treatment by Acoustic Fields
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JBzen
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Re: Pre-amp for UFO25
Reply #9 - 09/28/22 at 16:52:22
 
GroovySauce, those autoformers look like an interesting project! Most likely will tackle it this winter. If all goes well, it may replace the CSP2+.

Thanks.

John
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AMC CD8b>XO3>Cambridge CXN2>Stokes DAC>Decware silver/occ DIY> Zrock2>CSP2+>SE84 milflex copper 25th>11AWG silver/copper braid>lii Crystal 10 in Huijgen cabinets. Ortofon 2M Bronze>JVC QL-F4>ZP3>Sims isolation. Isolation-AC filtering-Room treatment
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